Pakistan court allows woman to change sex

April 30th, 2008 - 1:29 pm ICT by admin  

By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, April 30 (IANS) A Pakistan court has allowed a woman to change her sex and undergo surgery after medical experts agreed that she was suffering from a “gender identity disorder” (GID) that requires an operation. “I am thankful to the court and happy over this change,” Naureen, 28, told IANS, a day after the Lahore High Court gave her permission to undergo the sex change surgery.

There had been several cases of sex change operations in Pakistan but Naureen’s is the first one that has an approval from the high court. Presently there is no law in the country that permits sex change and doctors had refused to carry it out on Naureen, who now likes to be called Muhammad Ahmed Abdullah.

“No date has been fixed by the doctors and it (change of sex) may be possible after two to three operations,” Naureen said.

“I’ve seen the world with a woman’s eye for 28 years and now would like to see it with a man’s eye.”

Naureen, who is single, said: “I have many girls in mind but will take the final decision after my operation…. No hurry.”

Naureen had approached the court after various doctors, fearing legal action against them, had declined to do the necessary surgery. Justice Muhammad Ahsan Bhoon had sought a reply from the federal government, which said that Naureen was suffering from GID.

Legal experts are of the opinion that the ruling would open a floodgate for others to follow, and without any legislation on the issue many might misuse it. They said a law should be framed in line with social and Islamic norms. A high-level board should examine each case on its merits, they suggested.

“I think we should have some proper law in this regard. Otherwise many parents who have just daughters and no son or many boys and girls would be opting for such operations,” says Humayun Ahmed, a lawyer who deals in medical cases.

Seema Kamran, another lawyer who contested such a case in Rawalpindi some 16 years ago but could not get permission for her client said: “I am happy that the court has given the permission but I fear this precedent may be misused”.

Kamran told IANS that there should be some legislation in this regard. Otherwise gays and lesbians may opt for such operations.

Naureen, who hails from Faisalabad, in the application filed in the court, said she was feeling physical changes in her body since the age of eight and her family consulted many doctors who formed a consensus opinion that she was a GID case and needed a surgery. But her parents did not seek proper medical treatment at that time.

The doctors who previously had done such operations refused to conduct surgery as the Lahore court two years back had punished doctors who conducted the sex change surgery of Shumail Raj.

Raj was a girl and fell in love with her female cousin Shahzeena and after three years decided to go for a sex change operation. Three operations were unsuccessful but she got married to Shahzeena after concealing her identity.

When the case landed in court, Justice Khawaja Sharif summoned the doctors, asking them to explain under what law they had operated upon her.

“Doctors have told me that I just need very simple operations and this cannot be related to Raj’s case,” Naureen said. According to her, the court in that case had not passed any order that no patient suffering from GID could be given medical treatment.

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